Chickens are some of the most popular animals to keep, whether you’ve got a small holding, a farm, or just a large garden. They are friendly and amusing to watch but are excellent dual-purpose birds, providing eggs and meat for the table. Many different breeds are kept all around the world, some more popular than others, and they have a wide variety of colors and markings. But have you ever wondered which are the black and white chicken breeds? Read on as we discover some of the most stunning birds around!
1. Light Sussex
The first breed on the list is the Light Sussex chicken, a dual-purpose bird hailing from the county of Sussex in England. They are one of the oldest British breeds and are characterized by a broad, flat back and wide shoulders. Although there are several color varieties, the most common is the light Sussex which consists of a white body with a black tail and black wing tips. They also have black and white striped feathers around their neck, known as hackle feathers. Sussex chickens are prolific layers and typically provide between 240 and 260 large light-brown eggs annually. They are fairly docile birds and are often friendly and easy to tame, making them an ideal choice for first-time poultry keepers.
2. Plymouth Rock
The next black and white chicken breed is the Plymouth Rock, one of the oldest American chicken breeds. Plymouth rocks are large birds that can weigh up to seven pounds. They have a stunning appearance which consists of black and white bars. Males typically have equal amounts of black and white; each feather ends with a dark tip. However, females have wider black bars than white ones. Plymouth rocks are docile birds with a calm temperament, making them ideal for first-time poultry keepers. They are also excellent layers and can produce up to 200 large brown eggs annually, making them good dual-purpose birds.
One of the largest breeds on the list is the Brahma chicken which can reach a massive 10 pounds for hens and 12 pounds for cockerels. They are also good layers too, and hens produce an average of three to four eggs per week – up to 200 large medium-brown eggs per year. There are three color varieties — light, dark, and buff — and two of these are black and white. The light variety has the most white, with a white base color and a black tail. They also have black hackles and do not look too dissimilar to the appearance of the light Sussex. The black variety is much darker, and hens have a dark grey appearance with black hackles that are laced with white. However, males have black bodies with silver tails, hackles, and shoulders. They also have an area of black and white feathers across their back.
Another stunning bird is the Dominique chicken which is another American breed. Dominique chickens have distinctive black and white barred plumage with bright red comb and wattles. They are medium-sized birds, with hens weighing four to five pounds and cockerels reaching seven. They are a dual-purpose breed that produces around 200 large dark brown eggs annually. Dominique chickens are friendly, easily tamed, and make good mothers. However, roosters are known for their aggressive behavior, especially during the breeding season.
Another stunning black and white chicken is the silver-laced variety of the Wyandotte chicken. The silver laced variety is the original variety and consists of silver to white feathers with sharply marked black edges. They are large birds and typically weigh between six and nine pounds. The breed was originally created as a combination of Bahamas and Hamburgs with the intention of producing a good dual-purpose bird. Wyandottes are good egg layers and produce around 200 large cream and brown eggs per year. They are reasonably friendly birds but are often near the top of the pecking order in flocks, as they do not allow themselves to be pushed around by other birds.
Originating in Holland, the Hamburg chicken is a small bird with a fancy appearance. Hamburgs typically weigh no more than four to five pounds. They are several colors available, so their appearance varies. However, they typically have a white ground color with stunning black dots, which can be either small or large, depending on the color variety. Hamburgs are not as friendly as some of the other birds on the list, having a more aloof temperament, making them unsuitable for first-time poultry keepers. Hens lay 120 – 225 small-to-medium white eggs per year.
The Ancona chicken originated in the 1800s in the Marche region of Italy before being exported to the UK. Anconas largely have black plumage, which is interspersed with white speckles. They also have yellow legs, mottled black markings, and a bright red comb. Anconas are medium-sized birds at around six pounds but are good egg producers. They lay approximately 220 white medium-large eggs per year but rarely go broody.
One of the most popular black and white chicken breeds is the Maran, a good dual-purpose bird. They originated in France near the town of Marans but quickly became widespread across Europe. There are many colors recognized, and the number differs between countries, although the cuckoo variety is one of the most popular. Cuckoo Marans have a similar appearance to Dominique, with stunning bars of black and white. Marans are friendly birds and are calm and easy to handle, making them a good choice for beginners. They lay around 200 extra large dark brown eggs per year and make good mothers without having the tendency to go broody all the time.
Next up, we have the Lakenvelder chicken, which originated in the 19th century along the border between Germany and the Netherlands. Lakenvelders have blackheads, hackles, and tails, while the rest of their body is largely white. However, they sometimes have black feathers around their wing tips and at the top of their legs. Lakenvelders are fairly small birds at around four to five pounds and lay approximately 160 medium white eggs annually. They are quite flighty birds and can sometimes be aggressive toward other hens.
10. California Gray
The California grey is a versatile breed that originated in the US in the 1930s. These birds weigh around five pounds and have a black-and-white barred appearance. They are prolific layers and produce around 300 large white eggs per year. California greys are a friendly breed and are easy to handle. They are a fairly rare breed and were never recognized by the American Poultry Association, and as a result, they are not widely kept.
Summary of 10 Black and White Chickens
|Eggs per Year
|Size & Color
|240 – 260
|Large light brown
|Large light brown
|Large cream and brown
|120 – 225
|Small to medium white
|Medium to large white
|Extra large dark brown
The photo featured at the top of this post is © JennGarcia/Shutterstock.com
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